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Chivalry in pholcid spiders revisited
Journal of Arachnology (1995)
  • Julie A. Blanchong, Bowling Green State University - Main Campus
  • Michael S. Summerfield, Bowling Green State University - Main Campus
  • Mary A. Popson, Bowling Green State University - Main Campus
  • Elizabeth M. Jakob, Bowling Green State University - Main Campus
Cohabiting pairs of adult spiders are likely to interact over prey, and the outcome of these interactions is likely to affect the reproductive success of both individuals. In two species of pholcid spiders, previous workers reported the occurrence of "chivalrous" behavior, in which males cede prey to females. We looked for the occurrence of chivalrous behavior in another pholcid spider, Holocnemus pluchei. Pairs of spiders were placed on a web and left overnight without prey. A housefly was then introduced onto the web equidistant from the spiders, and subsequent interactions were noted on audiotape. We found no evidence of chivalry in pairs of unknown mating status or in pairs that had recently mated : males and females were equally likely t o win the prey, and intensity of interactions over prey was not influenced by the gender of the winner. The differences in our results compared to previously published work may be attributable to the fact that Holocnemus lives in unusually dense populations in nature. This, in combination with a pattern of last-male sperm priority, means that females may be difficult for males to monopolize, and a male will not substantially increase his own reproductive success by ceding prey to a female with which he has mated if others are also likely to mate with her.
  • cohabitation,
  • prey,
  • sperm priority,
  • chivalry
Publication Date
Publisher Statement
This article is from the Journal of Arachnology 23 (1995): 165. Posted with permission.
Citation Information
Julie A. Blanchong, Michael S. Summerfield, Mary A. Popson and Elizabeth M. Jakob. "Chivalry in pholcid spiders revisited" Journal of Arachnology Vol. 23 (1995)
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